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What are superfoods and why are they good for you? 16 superfoods you can add to your diet now.

Published on January 10, 2022

You’ve probably heard the term “superfoods” if you’re into healthy eating. But what is a superfood, really? Even though the term isn’t new, many people are still unsure what it means. In this article, we are going to see what superfoods are, and then we will introduce some of the most popular and beneficial superfoods that can help you and your family live a healthier life.

What are superfoods?

Before you start adding superfoods to your diet, let us define what they are. To begin with, a superfood is not a vitamin supplement or even some exotic juice concoction.

For marketing purposes, the definition of superfoods is often narrowed down to foods that fall into specific categories or sub-categories.

Nuts, seeds, and avocados, for example, are technically superfoods because they are high in antioxidants and healthy fats; however, because of their high calorie and fat content, these foods are frequently excluded from the category of superfoods for marketing purposes.

Superfoods are foods with a dozen or even more distinctive features that make up a separate category of foods that are either natural or moderately processed and high in nutrients. These foods can boost the human body’s vitality and can be an excellent option for increasing general health by boosting the immune system.

Should You include superfoods in your diet?

The widespread outbreak of neurodegenerative disorders has raised the desire to find answers in nature. An increasing number of people turn to high-nutrient foods to promote health and wellness and boost their well-being.

Superfoods are a great way to improve your overall health and can boost the immune system and increase the production of beneficial hormones, but only when they’re part of a well-balanced diet and used with caution.

Superfoods by Category

The list of foods known as superfoods is constantly getting longer year by year, as nutritionists and dieticians learn more about which foods have the most significant health benefits. However, superfoods can be divided into eight categories:

  • Dried nuts, such as walnuts and almonds.
  • Herbs such as saffron, ginger, and herbal tea.
  • Milk products such as donkey milk and Kefir.
  • Vegetables such as spinach and broccoli.
  • Pulses such as sweet potatoes, red beans, and cocoa.
  • Fruits such as berries, pomegranates, and grapes.
  • Bee products like royal jelly, waxes, and honey.
  • Seaweed such as chlorella and spirulina.

The Best Superfoods for Everyday Use

Here, we are going to introduce the best superfoods for everyday use, however, when it comes to superfoods, remember that unprocessed, organic types provide much more benefits.

1- Nuts

Nuts, particularly walnuts and almonds, have always been high in monosaturated fats, which can sometimes help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Interestingly, they also tend to be high in Omega-6 fatty acids, and the ratio of Omega-6s to Omega-3s in the body is considered important for good health. They are, regrettably, high in calories, and as such, portion control is essential.

2- Beans

Beans, which range from chickpeas to kidney beans to soybeans, are high in fibre, low-fat plant protein, folate, and iron. Manganese, a trace mineral important for brain health, is also present in beans, making them a real superfood.

3- Berries

Berries are high in fibre, antioxidants, and phytochemicals known as flavonoids that might aid in immune response and cancer prevention.

Because blueberries do seem to have significant manganese and vitamin K content, they are commonly referred to as superfoods, but some other berries, such as cranberries, raspberries, açai berries, and goji berries, are also considered superfoods.

Natural Berries on a white background

Antioxidants, good fats, fibre, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus are abundant in açai berries. Acai berries also aid in the suppression and healing of oxidative damage, as well as the maintenance of normal blood sugar levels.

Strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, for example, are high in phytochemicals, soluble fibre, and vitamins. Some antioxidants and plant components contained in berries will help protect mental performance while also slowing the formation of malignant cells.

Berries have a low glycemic index, which means they are digested slowly, raising blood sugar gradually, as opposed to foods with a high glycemic index like white bread, cookies, and cakes that can cause spikes in blood sugar.

4- Fatty fish

Salmon, tuna, and sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to a reduction in the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Tuna is a very good source of vitamin D, which can help maintain healthy bones. Mackerel is a good source of protein and omega-3s.

raw fish salmon on metal tray

Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which could also help prevent heart attacks and strokes. Salmon can help you lower your blood pressure, decrease inflammation, and sometimes even lift your mood. Vitamin D and selenium, which both minimize cell damage and aid your skin, hair, nails, and bones, are also abundant in this fish.

5- Broccoli and Cabbage

Cruciferous vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage, are high in fibre and vitamins A, C, and K, which are all good for your heart. They also include phytochemicals that may aid in the prevention of some cancers.

6- Yogurt

Yogurt is a good source of calcium and protein, and it also contains probiotics, which are known to help with gastrointestinal health. Choose plain, organic kefir and yogurt with live and active cultures instead of the flavoured, sweetened variants. To be considered organic, dairy cows cannot be given hormones or antibiotics.

7- Leafy greens

Dark greens, such as spinach, collards, Swiss chard, and kale, are high in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as fibre, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Dark greens are low in calories and, in terms of nutrients, they’re hard to top.

8- Whole Grains

Whole grains get their name from the fact that they are kept whole rather than being stripped of the fibre-rich bran, trying to make them far more nutritious than refined grains.

bowl full of wheat grains ready to grind for fresh flour

They’re high in B vitamins and have been demonstrated to help lower harmful cholesterol levels. Examples include wholemeal flour, brown rice, oats, buckwheat, rye, spelt, and whole barley.

9- Seeds

Flaxseed and chia seeds are frequently used in diet foods and recipe formulations. Flaxseed is a great source of fibre and antioxidants and is one of the best vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Chia seeds are an excellent source of dietary fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants and are a good source of protein, calcium, and phosphorus.

10- Tomatoes

Vitamin C, beta carotene, and lycopene, a potent antioxidant, are abundant in tomatoes. Processing and cooking tomatoes improve lycopene absorption but reduce the efficiency of certain other minerals and vitamins, so consume a variety of raw and processed tomatoes in your daily diet. Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable crop in the world, with an annual production of 70 million tons worldwide. Tomatoes are consumed fresh or processed into a wide variety of products, including canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, ketchup, and tomato paste.

11- Kefir

Kefir is a cultured, fermented beverage prepared from raw milk and kefir grain. B vitamins, protein, calcium, and potassium are all abundant in this beverage. The probiotic properties, however, are its most effective health benefit.

kefir andmilk products on the table

Probiotics also help you enhance your gastrointestinal tract’s beneficial bacteria ratio, prevent or treat diarrhea, alleviate irritable bowel syndrome, and prevent gastrointestinal infections, among several other things. Probiotics are widely sold as yogurt drinks and supplements, but homemade probiotic foods are just as effective. These include sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, and certain types of cheese.

12- Avocado

Avocados have been linked to a variety of health benefits, including lowering cholesterol and relieving arthritis, as well as minimizing chemotherapy side effects. Avocados contain high levels of monounsaturated fats, which can help lower bad cholesterol.

Avocado

It is also high in vitamins E and B6, which also help with the development of red blood cells, the protection of human tissues from free radicals, the production of glycogen, and the promotion of skin health. Avocados also contain high levels of glutathione and glutamine, which have been found to protect cells against oxidative stress. A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that avocado extract effectively inhibits the proliferation of cancer cells as well.

13- Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are high in iron, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, fibre, potassium, and magnesium, among other nutrients. Each of these nutrients can help you avoid a heart attack, feel healthier, boost your immune system, improve your vision, and keep your bones, teeth, and skin healthy.

14- Kale

Kale is one of the leafy green vegetables that contain high levels of vitamins C, K, and A, and also iron, manganese, antioxidants, and calcium. It is a well-known low-calorie superfood and is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which aid in the treatment of inflammatory illnesses like asthma, arthritis, and autoimmune disorders. Kale is also full of fibre and folic acid, which protects against osteoporosis.

15- Quinoa

Quinoa is a high-fibre, high-protein super grain that has more protein than just about every other grain. Quinoa is a good source of potassium and iron, in addition to being high in protein. Quinoa is classified as a seed rather than a grain. Quinoa is gluten-free by nature and is frequently used as an alternative to rice.

quinoa real

Quinoa is an excellent source of several antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, in addition to all the other wonderful benefits. Quinoa is often considered a “superfood” due to its nutritional profile and versatility. Quinoa is considered gluten-free, but the saponins on the seed coat are harmful to individuals with celiac disease.

16- Ginger

Ginger, a lesser-known superfood and yet commonly used spice, can improve the immune system, combat infections, or even protect you from cancer. Ginger has long been used to alleviate muscle pain, morning sickness, digestive difficulties, and abdominal discomfort, and it’s also proven to decrease inflammation and blood sugar levels. In 2010, a study revealed that ginger effectively inhibits the growth of cancer cells and can be used as a herbal remedy to help fight cancer. Ginger is also used in aromatherapy to reduce stress, eliminate fatigue, lower cholesterol levels and increase circulation.

The Benefits of Consuming Superfoods

It’s no understatement to say that what we eat can also be used to prevent illness. From that first spoonful of cereal to that last bite of dessert, everything we eat has an impact on our health. Superfoods offer a wide range of health benefits. The goal of eating a diet filled with superfoods is to ensure that your body receives all the nutrients it needs each day, and this in turn leads to increased health and vitality.

Superfoods can help the body function effectively by delivering the nutrition it requires. The following is a list of these vital nutrients:

Minerals and vitamins

These vital elements are critical to overall health and well-being. Minerals and vitamins have an impact on numerous different processes in the human body. They strengthen the immune system while also repairing the teeth, muscles, hair, and bones, among other things. Vitamins D, C, E, K, and A are all necessary. Additionally, magnesium and iron are just a few of the nutrients we require daily. Because our bodies do not store these vitamins and minerals, it is important to consume them in the foods we eat or with supplements. Minerals and vitamins are just a few of the components necessary for a healthy body.

Phytochemicals

Phytochemicals are a type of nutrient similar to antioxidants, although they have different functions. They don’t merely stop the damage from happening. They have antioxidant properties but also have the ability to destroy free radicals. Cancer cells may even self-destruct as a result of that as well. The best way to make sure you get enough phytochemicals is to eat foods that contain them. Dark leafy greens like kale, collard greens, spinach, and parsley are packed with phytochemicals.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants can protect cells from free radicals, which are unstable chemicals produced by the body in response to environmental stress as well as other stresses. Essentially, they aid in the battle against harmful elements such as inflammation, UV rays, and pollution. Antioxidants are abundant in several natural fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli, cranberries, and strawberries.

Is there any risk to consuming superfoods?

When people are unable to obtain certain superfoods because of their unavailability during certain times, they attempt to obtain them through supplementation. Supplementing with superfoods may not be as effective as ingesting nutrients from whole foods.

Supplements, in many situations, have a substantial biological influence on the body because of the chemicals they contain.

They might also cause mineral and vitamin toxicity, among other negative consequences.

Bottom Line

Combined with a well-balanced diet and frequent exercise, superfoods are an excellent source of nutrients. Superfoods’ high mineral and vitamin content can assist your body in fighting diseases and keeping you and your family healthy. To get the health benefits of superfoods, it is vital to select fruits and vegetables from all groups: leafy greens, other vegetables, citrus fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, and legumes. When taken moderately, superfoods can help with cardiovascular health, weight loss, increased alertness, and even boost immunity. These are healthy foods that are good for you, but they shouldn’t replace other food groups in your diet.

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